The Executive Council of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has expressed its continued support for Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili. Meeting in Madrid, its members nominated him to continue leading the United Nations specialized agency for four more years.
At the end of the 113th session of the Executive Council, held as a hybrid event in Spanish capital, Members voted in person and in secret for their choice of leader for 2022-2025. Incumbent Pololikashvili won 76% of the votes in a process where the Kingdom of Bahrain also put forward a candidate for the position, Shaikha Mai bint Mohammed Al Khalifa. Her Excellency congratulated Mr Pololikashvili on his win and the Government of Bahrain expressed its support for UNWTO.
Mr Pololikashvili had based his campaign for re-election both on the progressive institutional and policy reforms undertaken during his first term, and on his clear leadership of global tourism throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The Executive Council’s recommendation will be carried forward to the 24th Session of the UNWTO General Assembly, due to be held in Marrakesh, Morocco, towards the end of the year.
In Madrid, both the Prime Minister of Spain, Pedro Sánchez, and His Majesty King Felipe VI expressed their support for UNWTO and its leadership. The Secretary-General has also laid the foundations for seizing the momentum of the rollout of vaccines to ensure a harmonized approach to the return of safe and seamless international travel.
Sanchez’s commitment to the new headquarters
In his speech, Pedro Sánchez pointed out that “tourist recovery begins with vaccination. And total recovery, with total vaccination. Total and massive”.
Sanchez reiterated his commitment to continue working in international forums, and especially in the World Tourism Organization, to solve the problem of international mobility, the origin of the crisis in the sector. “There is no problem of demand, as a rapid increase in stocks has been detected when health conditions allow it. There is a problem of mobility”, said Sánchez.
Finally, he underlined the important role that the World Tourism Organization must play in the recovery of the sector and recalled that work is continuing to provide UNWTO with a new representative headquarters that meets its needs at the Palacio de Congresos on Paseo de la Castellana in Madrid, a venue that, in the words of Sánchez, must be “a meeting place for the tourism of the future”.